As expected, President Trump has officially announced that the US will ban TikTok and other China-based apps/services like WeChat. In the case of TikTok, Microsoft is working on a potential deal that could see the service continue on but details will need to be nailed down in a matter of weeks. Trump also said that he wants to see the US Treasury take a cut that would amount to “a lot of money” if an acquisition goes through.
The move from President Trump comes after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) ruled that China-based ByteDance must sell its stateside TikTok operations due to security concerns.
Microsoft has been in talks with TikTok parent ByteDance, but Trump was reportedly not open to the deal at first. However, he changed his mind and Microsoft shared a public update detailing that it will work to come up with an acquisition plan before September 15th that could be acceptable for both ByteDance and the White House.
Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.
In a meeting today, Trump confirmed he’s ok with Microsoft or another “very American company” acquiring TikTok’s US business. But that an “appropriate deal” would include the US Treasury getting “a lot of money”.(via Bloomberg).
“I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or someone else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. “It’ll close down on Sept. 15 unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal, an appropriate deal, so the Treasury of the United States gets a lot of money.”
Microsoft’s potential deal would include taking over TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It’s unclear how the US getting a “substantial amount of money” from a TikTok acquisition would work — would Microsoft, ByteDance, or both foot the bill? That could certainly make negotiations difficult, particularly depending on what “a lot of money” turns out to be.
It’s unknown what the market value of TikTok is as the platform is still working on monetization with ads.
If a plan for a deal isn’t approved by September 15, Trump is ready to shut down the TikTok in the US.
Trump also suggested that it could be less complicated for Microsoft to buy all of TikTok instead of just a portion of its operations. See his comments in the video below: